The same old, same old - that is what is constantly coming from the Labour members of RCT Council. They could have been sponsored for the number of times they repeated the same 'because of the Westminster cuts' line. Even when it has been obvious for some time that the public are not buying into this particular piece of Labour propaganda they still keep rolling it out.
Last week they had a new addition to the tired diatribe, repeated several times. That the coalition Government (add your own insulting phrase here) said this week they would make more cuts in Welfare services.
This is yet another piece of misinformation they are trying to spread. What in fact happened was that George Osborne said that the Conservatives would look to making more cuts if they won the next election. This was certainly not a Government announcement and Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was quick to point this out saying that he in no way backed this idea. Still, the Labour party wouldn't want to let facts get in the way of a good rant.
Another staple of the Labour message is that the opposition keep complaining but they haven't put any alternatives forward.
I am sick of trying to get information out of the Finance department. The Director refused point blank to provide the detailed budget information I asked for and went as far as to tell me it was unnecessary. Given that it is impossible to drill down into the finances and identify possible savings although with a budget that has so much money filed under 'miscellaneous' and 'other' spend then the scope is substantial.
Nonetheless we have made suggestions. For example:
Scrap the bloated PR and Strategy department. Retain a minimum number of event and press staff within the Chief Executives Department. Move the tourism officer to economic development.
Stop spending on needless advertising - stick to those legal notices which have to be issued. Scrap the service level agreement with GTFM which is more beneficial to the radio station than to the Council.
Scrap the Outlook magazine that is nothing more than campaign material for the Labour party.
Get rid of the office of Mayor and all the trappings. Likewise there is no need for a Cabinet car.
Cut back on the number of Scrutiny Chairs and thus the amount paid in extra responsibility allowances.
Turn Council run day care nurseries over to private or community enterprises - the Council does not need to run these centres which employ staff at a greater salary than private nurseries can afford. This would then pave the way to getting rid of support staff at Ty Trevithick. Nurseries have to be registered with CSSIW who monitor standards, why does RCT need staff doing this?
Rather than just close the Muni Arts Centre why not look at turning all three theatres over to not for profit community enterprises? Councils are not good at running businesses.
Cabinet Member Andrew Morgan had the audacity to state in the Chamber that opposition Councillors had all opposed every suggestion that had been brought forward. When I pointed out this was not the case and asked that he retract his remark and apologise he declined to respond.
More Labour lies.
The RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat submission to the consultation on phase 1 was published on our website, as were my own comments. We objected strongly to the cuts to nursery education, and the removal of transport for E3 youth provision, but other proposals we reluctantly agreed with. Likewise there is much in the phase 2 proposals that we will ultimately not disagree with. We don't oppose for the sake of it, something the Labour party simply do not understand.
Cllr Mike Powell